November 13, 2018
Robyn A. Crittenden
Interim Secretary of State
214 State Capitol SW,
Atlanta, GA 30334
Dear Secretary Crittenden,
We are Georgia pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and spiritual leaders who write you this letter out of a deep moral concern about the attacks on democracy in the state we call home. There is great anger and angst within communities all over Georgia about the lack of election integrity and the assaults on voting rights that have happened during this midterm election cycle.
In response to these realities we see it as our responsibility as faith leaders to speak on behalf of those whose hearts yearn for justice. As the Hebrew Scriptures declare, “…do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor them who has been robbed.” It is in this spirit that we lift our voices and humbly demand that you not allow the vote of the people to be robbed.
Therefore, we the undersigned clergy and faith leaders representing congregations and communities across Georgia recommend the following:
First, make it public that you will NOT certify any election results on county or state level until all absentee, early voting, in person on Election Day vote and paper ballots such as provisional and oversees/military votes are counted.
There is a widespread belief that forces within our state’s government have been working to suppress the vote and are using nefarious measures to keep certain votes from being counted. This is evidenced by the thousands of reports of voting complications, problems and intimidation that been communicated by Georgia citizens since last Tuesday’s election. For this cause, we strongly urge you NOT to certify any results until it can be verified that all votes have been cast; and additionally that you NOT accept the certification of the counties that have already certified their results until investigation has proven all of their cast votes were counted.
Secondly, Georgia has become the poster state for voter suppression and intimidation this midterm election cycle. Over the course of this year a multiplicity of articles, essays, news reports and stories have been written about the lack of integrity in the administration of our elections. Your predecessor has been the defendant in a number of law suits and will most certainly face new charges in the days to come. All of this has produced a very low public perception of Georgia’s election system.
However, you can play a key role in restoring the electoral reputation of our state by refusing to certify any results until all votes are counted and then ensure this is done by calling for an automatic recount across all 159 counties. We believe such an act is warranted given all of the unresolved issues and reports related to voter complications and problems. Moreover, we are confident that taking these recommended measures would begin to heal the collective wounds caused by a contentious and hard fought election.
Finally, it should be said that this is a non-partisan petition. Though we all have strong feelings as private citizens about who should lead our state as Governor, the purpose of this letter is to defend the voting rights of ALL Georgia citizens, no matter their political persuasion. And we believe the only way this can be done is by counting every vote!!!!
Recognizing that you have until next Tuesday to certify this election, we hope you will respond expeditiously to our recommendations. In an effort to demonstrate how serious a moral concern this is we will return with other clergy and citizens from across the state every day leading up to November 20th until our recommendations are met and/or responded to.
Thank you for taking the time to read this note. We wish you nothing but the best as you step into your new role.
Georgia Justice Clergy Coalition
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